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Thrive welcomes John Aukema, Jolene Veenstra, Matthew Ooms and Nichole Romero-Johnson as the latest endorsed chaplains in the Christian Reformed Church. Learn more about their stories below!

John Aukema

I was born in Orangeville (southwestern Ontario, CA) and attended Redeemer University (BA, Psychology '93) and Calvin Seminary (M.Div '97). My wife Kristie and I have been married for almost 28 years and we live in Zeeland, Mich. with our three children -- Nate (22), Kaleb (20), and Grace (14).


Jolene Veenstra
I'm currently finishing my EPMC through Calvin Seminary and have completed three units of SPE, with my latest being a second advanced unit. I have a B.A. and M.A. in English from earlier days, as well as an MDiv from McMaster Divinity College. I was born in the US but am currently a permanent resident of Canada where I live with my husband, two girls, and mother-in-law in Hamilton. Ont.


Matthew Ooms

I was born and raised in Lynwood, IL and attended Trinity Christian College and Calvin Seminary. I currently live in Grand Rapids, Mich. with my two sons, Jonathan 22 and Elijah 20. I have completed 4 units of CPE, including a residency at Pine Rest and two extended units, one at Pine Rest and one at Beacon Hill at Eastgate.


Nichole Romero-Johnson
I grew up in Zeeland, MI and moved to Grand Rapids for college (Kuyper College) and seminary (Calvin Theological Seminary). I recently married my husband, Keegan Johnson (October 2023) and am thrilled to begin the adventure of marriage. In my spare time, I enjoy exploring bookstores, coffee shops, and having tea with dear friends.

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